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Staff member’s virtual London Marathon challenge

Jane Owens and Husband – Virtual London Marathon 2020

It all happened very last minute.  My husband, future son in-law and step-daughter all had entries in the April London Marathon, which was deferred to October because of Covid.  As we moved towards October the sponsors, Virgin Money, decided to change the event to a Virtual Marathon (for non-elite runners!), opening it up to the World.  My daughter and I decided to join our family members and enter the event (at the end of August).   As a family, we supported a number of charities close to our hearts including CRY, Care Leukaemia and MIND.

My husband and I started the race at around 00:12 hrs on Sunday morning in the pitch black, pouring rain.  We ran a half marathon in 2:20, returning home, pausing the App, refuelling and thought about trying to get a couple of hours sleep……. typically,  sleep resisted, so we made the decision to start again.  This was the really tough part, at about 5 miles in my legs felt like lead.   I knew at this point it was going to be a personal battle between me and the miles and that it was something I needed to do on my own.    My husband and I went our separate way (in the nicest possible sense) – he runs better on soft ground; I prefer the road.  I ran out in the country lanes of Herefordshire away from the traffic and into peace and tranquillity…. it was game on.  The Virgin Money App was fantastic in providing ‘cheering’ at significant milestones and reminders to hydrate and snack.   I have to say that at no point did I ever think of giving up; I never looked at my tracker and just waited for the App to notify me that I had completed the 26.2 miles to the huge applause of a virtual crowd.

Over the years I had tried on several occasions to enter the London Marathon without success and who would have thought that now, in all the awfulness of the pandemic and the crisis that was created, that an amazing opportunity arose for so many people to become part of this iconic event and raise money for the charities which are having such a hard time too.  

If colleagues would like to sponsor my effort, please use the University’s Charity of the Year, Cure Leukaemia’s JustGiving page.

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